Trojans Unable to Overcome Early Deficit, Fall 4-1 to California in Rubber Match
May 11, 2014
LOS ANGELES - The USC baseball team found itself in an early 3-0 hole and were unable to climb out, falling 4-1 in the rubber match of the series to visiting California on Sunday afternoon.
Trojan starter Bob Wheatley (Villa Park, Calif./Orange Lutheran HS) did not have his best stuff on Sunday, giving up three runs on three hits with one walk in just one complete inning of work. The senior was able to minimize the damage, stranding two Golden Bear base runners, but the Trojans were down 3-0 early.
They looked to be in business and about to answer in the bottom half of the first inning, as Kevin Swick (La Canada, Calif./Loyola HS) led off the inning with a single and Omar Cotto Lozada (San Juan, Puerto Rico/The Bonneville School) drew a walk to put two on with nobody out. After a sac bunt from Jeremy Martinez (Fountain Valley, Calif./Mater Dei HS) advanced the runners 90 feet, the Trojans had two runners in scoring position with just one out, but they were unable to make anything happen.
Sophomore lefty Kyle Twomey (Placentia, Calif./El Dorado HS) entered in relief in the top of the second inning and threw a scoreless four innings, holding the Bears to just three hits, while striking out six and walking just one.
Twomey kept the Trojans in the game, and in the bottom of the fifth inning they got on the board, as Bobby Stahel (Needles, Calif./Palos Verdes HS) drew a walk to start things off. Redshirt freshman Reggie Southall (Gardena, Calif./Serra HS) singled and aggressive baserunning from Stahel put runners on the corners with nobody out. Swick delivered the sac fly to right field to plate Stahel and Southall advanced to second with just one out. However, the Trojans were unable to get anything else going. With two outs Martinez was hit-by-the-pitch to put two one, but both runners were stranded.
The Bears added on in the eighth off reliever Kyle Davis (Garden Grove, Calif./Pacifica HS). Davis, who went four complete innings, held the Bears to just two hits, but both were back-to-back in the eighth to drive in the run. Derek Campbell tripled with one down in the inning, and Vince Bruno followed with a single to plate the run and put the score 4-1 Bears.
Bears' starter Ryan Mason threw a complete game, holding the Trojans to just the one run on six hits, while striking out three and walking two.
The Trojans were unable to make a comeback in the later innings. A one-out single by Martinez gave the Trojans a base runner in the eighth, but a screaming line drive by Jake Hernandez (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif./Los Osos HS) was caught by the first baseman and Martinez was doubled off to end the inning.
Blake Lacey (Clovis, Calif./Clovis HS) looked to potentially spur a rally in the bottom of the ninth with a two-out double, but the Trojans were unable to get anything going, falling 4-1.
The Trojans will have an entire week off, finishing up finals and then they have the Pac-12 bye weekend, before hosting Grand Canyon on Monday, May 19 at 6 p.m. PT at Dedeaux Field.